The state has identified 4 areas of specialization for certified Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists. The trainings build on the foundational knowledge and skills of persons with a state certification. CalMHSA does not recommend taking these trainings prior to the core competency training.

The four of specialization are:

  1. Parent, Caregiver, and Family Member Peer
  2. Peer Services – In Crisis Care
  3. Peer Services for Unhoused 
  4. Peer Services for Justice Involved 

Parent, Caregiver, Family Member Peer

Family Members and Caregivers are critical to the wellbeing of their families and their communities. That is why the Parent, Caregiver, Family Member Peer Support Specialist is so important to the Behavioral Health Care system.

Parents and family members who work in the behavioral health care system as “Peers” have a different role than consumer “Peers” and, therefore, require a different set of trainings that is more relevant to the role they perform as part of the multi-discipline service team.

Specialized training for parent/caregiver/family member peers will be available soon.

Peer Services - In Crisis Care

Peer support services can complement clinical services and help individuals in crisis. Medi-Cal Peer Support Specialists can specialize in providing services during a crisis within various organizational structures. The inclusion of peer support workers in crisis care helps facilitate a trauma-informed response and recovery oriented and strengths-based approaches. Peer support workers demonstrate that recovery is possible and act as an advocate for the individual. This may help improve outcomes, such as reduced trauma and agitation, increased trust, reduced hospitalizations and emergency department usage for mental and/or substance use disorders, reduced recurrence of symptoms, and decreased recidivism.

Specialized training for working with persons in crisis will be available soon.

Peer Services for Unhoused

The unhoused population has unique needs. Peer support specialists with experience of being unhoused offer unique perspectives in supporting those experiencing homelessness. Additional training in this area can provide unique competencies of delivering such services. 

Specialized training for working with persons who are unhoused will be available soon.

Peer Services for Justice Involved

The experience with the criminal justice system can impact an individual’s life in many ways and it is best understood by individuals who have experienced it. A peer with lived experience can support individuals being released, engaging and supporting them at various stages on their paths to recovery. Peer support services provided can help deter criminal justice involvement and ease reentry after incarceration. Justice-involved peer support training will train peers to support individuals coming out of incarceration and explore psychological effects of those incarcerated and some of the learned behavior that may be present.